To My Teenager: Just get through high school without a baby, okay?

To My Teenager:

Just get through high school without a baby, okay?

 
Monday was my oldest son's birthday. He turned fifteen. A full fledged teenager, beginning his second year of high school. By the end of this year he'll be half way through high school. My young man.
 
Having a teenager is a very strange stage in parenting. There is this struggle between wanting to hold on and let go at the same time. I feel like I know him but I don't know him anymore. He has a new personality outside of me, outside of this family.
 
It was just him and me against the world in the beginning. I wasn't even graduated from high school yet.
 
 
 
But he was my catalyst. He pushed me, this little man. He taught me not to sit on my ass and let the world take care of me but to get up and do something, if not for anyone else, at least for him. At the time I felt that if he was only going to have one parent, he would never go without elsewhere. And he would have a damn good life in spite of it.
 
 
Back then I would worry a lot about him becoming a man. How would I show him? I didn't know how to be a man. How would he ever learn?
 
 
 
Now that I look back, I realize that his babyhood was easy. Not really that mischievous, totally chill. That's when it was easy. I could keep him to myself, away from the world. I could decide what he wore, what he ate, what he did. He was safe.
 
 
Fast forward to his adolescent years. Oh my jeez, were those scary. A friend of mine described it as a dark tunnel that they enter. And you don't really see them for a while, maybe figuratively, sometimes literally. They wear black and listen to whatever music their parents hate. It's a scary, dark tunnel.
 
And then they come out of that tunnel and they turn into the beginning of something. They start talking to you again, dressing in colors. And it's okay. Hopefully.
 
We were fortunate in that my husband came into our lives when Gabe was six years old. He was able to pave a way for Gabe and fill in where I couldn't.
 
Having a teenager is so weird. I've heard it's like having a toddler again - the tantrums, the selfishness. I guess. But it's way less cute. And there's so much more at risk.
 
Having a teenager is like seeing all your hard work begin to come to fruition. You start to see glimmers of a new, more adult personality. They start to talk belief systems with you, they question the ways of the world, they question authority. And you don't really know whether you should intervene in their thought process or let them fly.
 
A teenager is truly a sight to behold. A lot of times you see things coming from them you really don't like, and then sometimes you realize they're acting just like you. It's like watching them learn how to walk again, except it's totally metaphorical. They're finding their legs. Like Bambi. Figuring out their space in the world.
 
It's a fine line figuring out your relationship. I'm often asking myself - Is this an appropriate joke to repeat to him? Should he be telling me that joke? Should he be laughing? Does he understand what it really means? Am I telling him too much?
 
But I feel the separation happening, softly and swiftly. He is less and less a part of me and more and more his own "man." He gets disappointed in school, he gets his heart broken, he doesn't get to play in the game as much as he'd like. I want to jump in and stomp those little girls, but it's something I just have to watch. And do nothing?! Yes. And do nothing.
 
Monday was his birthday. And it was the first birthday since the day of his birth that we had ever been apart. I'm sure he was happy about that. He is at football camp for the week. And, you know, I wasn't sad. I was happy he was spreading his wings. I was more a little sad that I only have a few more years left with him. Sad but relieved. Relieved in that I feel like when he's an adult I can finally say, "I raised a kid! And he's okay! So far!"
 
I just need him to graduate from high school and do it without a baby. High hopes, right? It's personal. Then I will feel like I have succeeded in something. I mean, I obviously want him to get further than that, but just graduate without a baby. Just do that first.
 
 
That's him.
 
He's all mine. But he's less and less mine everyday.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

39 comments:

  1. Aw wow! What a strong mama. Love this post sweet girl!

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    1. Thank you! And thanks for reading my thoughts about my biggest baby!

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  2. Wow... I am pretty sure I could have written this post. My son turns 15 in just a couple of weeks and will be starting his first year of high school a few days before. Although, I didn't have my son in high school, I did have him before I turned 21. We talk about EVERYTHING, and all the time I tell him he cannot make me a grandma before he graduates high school. I used to teach junior high and high school- I have seen it all. *sigh*
    This post was so touching... thank you for this. You put into words everything I am feeling right now about my oldest "baby" becoming a young man... <3

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    1. Wow! I love to hear when I write something that resonates with another reader - especially when it's the mom of another fifteen year old!

      What a strange stage, right? So much they're learning, so much you feel like you have to protect them from. But so much you have to let them learn on their own.

      Precious boys.

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  3. I can relate, Shauna. My son is about to leave his teen years, he turns 20 this year. He still lives at home and is working part time and going to the local university. He's turned out to be a kind, good hearted young man, maybe because of me, maybe in spite of me. Either way, I'm so proud of him. But it was hard. And I still worry - I will worry about him when he's 40!

    I'm sure you don't have to worry about the "baby" thing. It sounds like your family has instilled values into your kids. If your son knows that your family doesn't approve of sex before marriage and that it goes against your family values, then he won't do it. Pure and simple.

    Just make sure you keep tabs on his Facebook, Twitter, Ask Me, all those "pages" - not just for comments he makes, but to see what kind of comments he is reading from others. Privacy, my A%& - as parents we definitely have the right to inspect those things!

    OK, enough of the lecture! You're doing great, even with your special circumstances - keep it up. I know Gabe is happy to have such a cool Mom.

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    1. That's awesome that your son is doing so well! But it's so true! The worry never stops! It just transfers and intensifies.

      I agree about the privacy thing. We were very slow to give him access to social media. I check up on his twitter often because I guess that's what all the kids are into now.

      Ha ha! I constantly tell Gabe he has a cool mom. I'm not sure he thinks so but I don't think it matters who you are. Your kids NEVER think you're cool.

      Thanks for the compliments and words of wisdom from a mom who knows! :-)

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  4. What a beautiful and touching post, and what a handsome young man! You're doing a great job Momma!

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    1. Thank you! I think he's pretty handsome, too, if I do say so myself!

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  5. This was a beautiful piece. My little ones are still very young, and I already think about them reaching their teen stage how I hope they won't shut me out. You are doing a wonderful job :)

    I wanted to invite you to the Meet & Greet Blog Hop! It runs from Tuesday nights till the end of Saturday, Come stop by if you have some time :)
    http://createdbylaurie.blogspot.com/2013/07/meet-greet-blog-hop-36.html

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    1. The teen stage is shut out city! My teenager is still pretty good about opening up. My advice when this stage happens is to listen whenever they want to talk - no matter what's it's about! I've listened to hours of his interpretation of song lyrics and music. But it's worth it if they know you're listening.

      Thanks for the invite! I'll definitely stop by the link up!

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  6. What a handsome guy - and how lucky to have a mama like you. Though my children are still very young, I worry about this - about my 'babies' in the big bad world... I suppose every mother does.
    I just wanted to say that you have written a really wonderful heartfelt post here. :)

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    1. Awww! Thank you so much! And thank you for reading! Enjoy the "littleness" when you can. It really does go so fast!

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  7. He is always yours! Boys never forget their mamas. It is such a beautiful bond!

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  8. I relate to your story in so many ways.
    I had my son at 16, and it was us against the world too!

    He's now 18, and though there's been many bumps in the road and times I didn't even recognize this person, there's been many proud moments (and temper tantrums - from both of us!)
    I wouldn't trade it for anything, and at times it's very surreal.

    My family is also a blended one. My son was 11 when my husband came into our lives. We blended our family and then had two more.

    My 18 year old graduated high school last June.
    Without a baby.
    Yes, I'm a proud Mama! But I totally get the goal, and I've said it to him many times LOL.

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    1. Wow! It is amazing how similar our situations are! Congratulations! Your oldest got through without a baby! I can't wait to get there, too! :-)

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  9. Hi Shauna,

    I love your post. My son, Austin, will be 15 years old on August 26 and starting high school this year as well. I can't believe how fast the time has gone! Your son is so handsome!

    I am a new follower from Aloha Fridays Blog Hop and would love a follow back. My blog link is: http://ylindo01.blogspot.com

    Thanks so much. I look forward to reading more of your topics.

    ~Yaumara

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    1. Welcome! And thanks for following!

      Oh, the world of high school. It was so scary at first but then after like a week, we were all used to it. And thank you for the compliment about my son. I think he's pretty handsome, too.

      Off to check out your blog!

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  10. Hi, I'm Hanna. I'm cohosting the Aloha Friday hop this month and just stopping by to say hi and follow your blog :)

    www.violetlulu.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Hanna! Thanks for stopping in to say hello! I'll be visiting you back soon!

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  11. I think you were writing this post for me as well. My daughter is about to start her senior year in high school and she's been a great kid so far. I'm hoping that senior year doesn't change her. You have a handsome young man there and I'm sure he'll do you proud. Hope you're having a great week.

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    1. I was writing it for you! And every mom who is facing having to let go when you want to hold on - whether it's kindergarten or high school or the real world.

      Thanks for the compliment about my son, too! I'm already pretty proud of him.

      You have a great week, too!

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  12. Wow what beautiful post. I loved your honesty and that you can see your child becoming an adult and the Mummy pain that brings and yet you also know its time for your son to spread his wings. I have a 6 and 8 year old and you have encouraged me to take that extra moment in each day to invest in those teenage years. Thank you
    By the way I came over from SITS sharefest

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    1. Welcome! Thanks for visiting!

      I am so touched that this blog inspired you to take that extra moment. They'll be older and insisting that their friends drive them to school before you know it.

      (That just happened.)

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  13. I enjoyed this post. I have a son as well who just turned 22 last week. Just so you know, although our sons grow up and start their own lives, they still cling to their mothers in their own way. My son is a Marine now and although it was difficult to let go and watch him take that step into his own, it made our bond much stronger.

    You have so many wonderful moments to look forward to with your son. Enjoy this year...relish the moment he turns his tassel at graduation and brace yourself for the wonderful moments to come as he steps out into the world.

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    1. Awww! Glad to know they still need their moms! And congrats on having a raised a boy into a marine.

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  14. Happy Birthday to your son...my guy is four and I can't imagine him being all grown up and becoming his own man. Sounds like you did a great job though and should be proud. *wiping my tears away* was a touching post.
    Happy Saturday Sharefest
    http://dinoheromommy.com/

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  15. I kmlw exactly hlw,you fwel. My 5yl has become so independent. Sne'll be starting first grade and K kmlw I'm glimg to miss so mjch it's going to hurt. But growing up is apart of life,right? #SITSsharefest

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    1. That's right! It is definitely a part of life. They grow up so fast!

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  16. I am expecting my first this fall, and though it's a long way away, I'll admit the teenage years freak me out a bit, more so than those first few years. Beautiful post, and happy Sharefest!

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    1. You should be scared. The teen years are an exercise in sanity.

      Congrats on your first and thanks for visiting!

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  17. I'm bawling my eyes out right now! And I'm absolutely scared to death. I have 2 boys and after reading this I'm scared to death that I'm not doing things right. Are they going to turn out ok or are they going to hate me for life because I'm too hard on them....Beautifully written post though. I now feel like I know exactly how I'll feel in 10 years.

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    1. That never goes away! At least until they're out on their own and then it's a whole new set of worries. It never ends!

      Thanks for reading, though! Good luck with the next ten years!

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  18. This is a beautifully honest post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I'm sure your son is thankful to have such a loving mother, even if he doesn't put it in words.

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    1. Ha ha! Not sure he's so thankful right now because I just told him he couldn't ride in a car with strangers to his first day of school.

      HOpefully someday, right?

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  19. My son is 15 also, so I can relate. They can be challenging at times, but my boys are the pride and joy of my life. Even when they drive me crazy, I love them to death. We are fortunate that he has a good support system in place to help him. Even on his Facebook page, he has both parents, two older brothers, two ministers, half a dozen Scout leaders, and a number of youth group leaders to watch over him. We don't have much family, so that is the village I am counting on to see him safely to adulthood.

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    1. What a great village! I totally believe that it's so important to have positive role models in addition to parents. I think youth groups are a saving grace for young boys. They have definitely pulled my son out of some funks and turned his whole attitude around. They helped pull him out of that "dark tunnel" I was talking about.

      Great insight!

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  20. I'm having so much fun reading your blog, started with one blog and jumped around and stopped on yours.
    I love the RHoNJ posts, I'm not watching anymore, but it's fun to have a peek at what's going on.
    This post is my favorite yet, you are funny and honest and a strong mama.
    You're boy will turn out fine with all your love!

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